June 14, 2011
ATLANTA – Touring professionals Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar and Briny Baird, as well as amateur Michael Barbosa, are the Georgia Tech golf alumni who will be in the field next week for the 111th United States Open golf championship, which will be played at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
Only Clemson, with five alums playing in the Open, has more former players competing this week among Atlantic Coast Conference programs.
Cink, a 1995 Tech graduate who is in his 17th year on the PGA Tour, is a six-time Tour champion playing in his 16th Open. His best finish was a third-place effort in 2001 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
Kuchar, a 2000 Tech graduate who won the 1997 U.S. Amateur, has been a regular on Tour since 2002 and has won three times, including the 2010 Barclays in the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Playing in his sixth Open, his best finish was a tie for sixth last year at Pebble Beach.
Barbosa graduated from Tech in 2005 and has remained an amateur in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla. The 2005 All-ACC player advanced out of a three-for-two playoff in Vero Beach, Fla., where he shot 3-under 141 in the 36-hole qualifier.
Baird played on Tech teams with Cink and David Duval in 1991 and 1992 before completing his collegiate career at Valdosta State. He is playing in his fourth open, with a best finish of T40 in 2001 at Southern Hills.
The Yellow Jackets very nearly had one of its current players qualify Monday at Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Ball Ground, Ga. Freshman Ollie Schniederjans, who enrolled at Tech in January and recently completed his first semester of classes, shot 10-under-par 134 and won a playoff to earn the second alternate spot (a href=”http://youtu.be/W9cBWcDHVGM”>see video of Schniederjans talking about his day).
Five Tech players were among the 47 competing for three spots in the Hawks Ridge sectional. John-Tyler Griffin tied for ninth place at 7-under 137, while Anders Albertson tied for 17th at 4-under 140, Kyle Scott tied for 22nd at 3-under 141, and James White tied for 30th at 2-under 142.
The closest a Tech alumnus has come to winning the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones won his fourth in 1930 was Stewart Cink in 2001. Cink, who would win the British Open eight years later for his first major championship, missed a short putt on the 18th hole that would have placed him in a three-man playoff with Retief Goosen and Mark Brooks. Goosen won the first of his two titles in the 18-hole playoff the next day.
Jones won Open titles in 1923, 1927, 1929 and 1930.
OTHER TECH GOLF NEWS
> Six present and former Yellow Jackets played in the first big amateur event of the summer schedule, the 58th Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions last weekend in Johnstown, Pa. Recent graduates John-Tyler Griffin, Paul Haley and Kyle Scott, who will remain in amateur competition for the summer, are in the field along with incoming freshman Ollie Schiederjans, rising sophomore Richard Werenski and first-team All-American James White. White tied for eighth place at 4-under-par, Haley was 10th at 3-under, Schniederjans and Griffin tied for 11th at 2-under.
> Rising senior Minghao Wang, who represented China in the 2010 World Amateur Team Championship but played in only a pair of collegiate events last year, has qualified to play in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, which will be held June 27 – July 2 at Bandon Dunes Resort in Bandon, Ore. Wang finished third with a 5-under-par score of 139 at Woodmont Golf and Country Club on Tuesday. Sophomore Seth Reeves missed qualifying by two strokes.
> As the summer amateur season begins, four Georgia Tech players, present and past, are listed among the top 100 amateurs in the United States – John-Tyler Griffin (15), James White (22), Richard Werenski (42), Ollie Schniederjans (44). All four of them plus 2005 graduate Michael Barbosa (182) appear among the world’s top 200 amateurs.